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Prevalence of Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors in Volunteer Firefighters

Yoo, Hye Lim MS; Franke, Warren D. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2009 - Volume 51 - Issue 8 - p 958-962
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181af3a58
Original Articles

Objective: To assess the prevalence of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and frequency of risk screening in volunteer firefighters.

Methods: Self-reported data were obtained from 230 volunteer firefighters.

Results: Most participants were either overweight (35%) or obese (41%) and did not know either their blood lipid (86%) or blood pressure (47%) values. Only 35% reported having had a blood lipid assessment in the past year, whereas 39% had never done so; 93% had had their blood pressure assessed in the past year and only 2% had never done so. Thirty percent reported currently using tobacco.

Conclusions: The prevalence of overweight, obesity, and tobacco use among these volunteer firefighters was higher than that found in the general population. Many firefighters were either not aware of their risk factors for CVD or had been inadequately screened for this risk. However, the firefighters who had had recent blood pressure and lipid assessments did not have markedly elevated values. Thus, CVD risk in volunteer firefighters may be reduced through an increased awareness of risk factors via timely risk factor assessment.

From the Department of Kinesiology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

The authors do not have any competing interests.

Address correspondence to: Warren D. Franke, PhD, 247 Forker Building, Ames, IA 50011; E-mail:

©2009The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine